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Government response on obesity disappoints

Government response on obesity disappoints

The Government’s response to the Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes is a huge disappointment with failure to adopt critical recommendations from the report, according to Fight the Obesity Epidemic (FOE).

Spokesperson Dr Robyn Toomath says that the Government has missed the opportunity to make meaningful progress in reducing obesity.

The Health Select Committee recommended that the media restrict the TV advertising of unhealthy foods until after 8.30pm. “The Government’s response that this can only happen with industry agreement shows a failure to provide itself with the tools to protect public health”, says Dr Toomath.

“The Government says a lot about encouraging changes in the marketing of unhealthy food to children, but nothing about ensuring that this happens”, says Dr Toomath. “They say they will monitor changes against targets, but not what these targets are.”

Dr Toomath notes that the only specific action proposed by the Government in response to a recommendation to work with the food and marketing industries to reduce the marketing of energy-dense products is to appoint six new DHB regional food industry coordinators. “These people will get nowhere in the absence of a government regulatory framework, Dr Toomath says.

FOE sees the power for Government to regulate where required as the inducement industry needs to make real progress. She is disappointed that the Public Health Bill introduced into Parliament last week fails to provide the Government the power to make regulations requiring the food and marketing industries to make needed changes. “The Government’s response to the Inquiry is full of excuses that it cannot direct industry, but it has ignored a long campaign by public health groups to give itself some teeth in the Public Health Bill.”

“The only thing we can be sure of in the Government’s response is that it will ignore the recommendations and continue to allow the export of fatty meat flaps to the Pacific where obesity is an even greater problem than here in New Zealand”, Dr Toomath concluded.

ENDS

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